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Resisting the ban

2007-08-31 Author:By: Samuel Luo

In the month of the ban, more than 30,000 Falun Gong practitioners went to Beijing to appeal and more practitioners were stopped by different levels of authorities before they could reach Beijing. In Beijing, practitioners were held in detention centers and jails. When these places were full, schools, cheap hotels and even a stadium were used.1

In the years following, thousands of practitioners have gone to Beijing to safeguard Li's reputation and his Dafa. In doing so, these practitioners often leave their sad families behind. Their motivation to go to Beijing mainly comes from Li's pushing them and the Internet testimonials of practitioners used by the Falun Gong organization to promote its cause.

Ever since his teachings were criticized, Li has asked his followers to stand up for his Dafa, but his demands increased dramatically after the ban. Despite the vast number of practitioners going to Beijing, Li, who really believes that he has more than seventy million followers in China, frequently shows dissatisfaction with his followers because too few are standing up to defend his teachings. In one of his Essentials teachings he stated:

Some of them…have had their lives extended through the Fa; some of them have received all kinds of benefits, such as good health, harmony in the family, indirect benefits to their relatives and friends, a reduction of their karma, and even Master's bearing things for them. In other dimensions, their physical bodies are being transformed into God-bodies. Despite this, when Dafa is about to consummate you, you are unable to step forward from humanness, and when the evil persecutes Dafa you are unable to stand up to validate Dafa. These people who only want to take from Dafa and not give for Dafa are, in the eyes of Gods, the worst beings. Moreover, this Fa is what's fundamental in the cosmos, so those people who are still unable to step forward today will be weeded out after this tribulation is over.2

While the master urges his followers to pay what they owe him, the Falun Gong organization uses the stories and testimonials of some practitioners to drive many others to protest in Beijing. One of these stories tells the last words of a dedicated practitioner who died of his own illness on his way to Beijing:

Yang Shan was on the brink of death. On December 27,…We all tried to persuade him to go back to his home, but he insisted that he did not want to go anywhere…After he spit out a second liter of blood, he said as long as I still have one breath and one drop of blood, I will hold out the banner at Tiananmen and shout "Restore Teacher's Reputation". On the evening of December 27, at 10:30, he exhausted all of his energy and blood, and departed from the world forever.3

At the end of this story, the editor points out two things that Yang Shan worried about before he passed away one was that some fellow practitioners had not stepped out yet; the other was that he had not done enough works for Dafa.

Touched by these sad stories and fearful of being weeded out, faithful practitioners have continued to go to Beijing to protest and most have been arrested on site. While many of them have been released upon renouncing the Falun Gong, others remain in detention centers and jails, or have died. As of June 8, 2004, the Falun Gong organization claims that 977 practitioners have died of torture since July 22, 1999, which equals one death every two days. The Chinese government denies torturing any practitioners to death, and while not mentioning the toll of the deaths, it states that those practitioners who died committed suicide. This assertion is denied by the Falun Gong organization because "practitioners would never kill themselves". Xie and Zhu simply repeat this claim in their article "there is no indication whatsoever in Falun Gong that committing suicide is ever encouraged. In fact, committing suicide is strictly prohibited, just as with other forms of killing."4 Who is lying Again, the truth can only be found after a careful review of Li's teachings.

In contrast to the practitioners' public statements that the persecution is a violation of human rights, Li, inside the group, tells his followers that the persecution is a "test" which was prearranged in history.5 Who is testing his disciples He says it's the "evil old force"—the Chinese government is only being used by this "evil old force". Li's explanation is understandable given his worldview. Since he claims to have god-like power to protect all of his followers from harm, the persecution can only be a "test" from some supernormal force.

Worrying that his followers might fail this "test" because of their attachments, the master urges them to give up their "last attachment". He states "If a cultivator can let go of the thought of life and death under any circumstance, evil is sure to be afraid of him. If every student is able to do this, evil will of itself no longer exist."6 To further explain why letting go of life and death is good for his followers, Li points out that only under such circumstance can he use his divine power to protect followers. He says "if you're able to put aside the thought of life and death, and if you're solid and unshakable like diamond, then those evil beings won't dare to touch you… If in this scenario the evil still persecutes you, then Master will show no leniency. Master has countless Law Bodies, and on top of this, there are countless righteous Gods helping me do things, and they will directly eliminate the evil."7

Li's strategy is simple if millions of practitioners in China were to "let go of their life and death" in opposing the government, there would be no way that the government could stop them from practicing and spreading Falun Gong, and that would surely make Li a powerful man.

Master Li's teaching of "letting go of life and death" has been carried out by many practitioners in the form of the hunger strike, which has become a powerful tool for the practitioners under custody. Worrying about their deaths, police have had to release them due to their health condition. Because it works, more and more practitioners have gone on hunger strikes after being arrested, but this practice nonetheless weakens the practitioners' health and can even kill them. As early as January, 2000, the hunger strike tactic took its first life—a 52-year-old female practitioner living in Beijing.8 Unfortunately, at that time the hunger strike was already a common practice and was carried out even in groups. As reported by the Falun Gong itself, 140 practitioners once went on a mass hunger strike while in the Da-Guang detention center.9

In dealing with these hunger strikes the police have changed their approach—instead of letting them go, they force-feed them. Sadly, because of the resistance from practitioners, methods resembling torture have been used, as described in one practitioner's account

In order to verify that practitioners are innocent and ask for justice and freedom from Jiang Zemin's government, we began a fast July 9. On the fifth day of our fast, doctors and armed police came to the detention center to force-feed us. We were shackled, and tied to the bed of punishment. Our hands and feet were tightly bound. Plastic catheters were inserted through our noses into our stomachs. At this moment I felt there was great pain in my stomach and I thought I was going to die. I struggled hard against the evil; the harder I struggled though, the tighter the shackles became. The pain was unimaginable; I clenched my teeth and endured. I was force fed four meals because I could not move. I was very sad at that time, since I never thought I could be so weak.10

Although the intention in force-feeding these practitioners was to keep them alive, this method did cause all kinds of injuries and some times even killed the practitioner. In one incident a practitioner was force-fed through the nose on his sixth day of hunger strike. The feeding tube caused severe injuries to his respiratory system, which seriously infected his lungs. He died in the hospital on February 11, 2000.11 However, despite the terrible experiences and deaths caused by hunger strikes, the Falun Gong organization continues to promote them with stories like this

During the 15 days of detention, I insisted on a hunger strike. After I vomited, they measured my blood pressure and diagnosed that my heart had problems. I was tortured until I was on my last breath. They thought that I would die soon, so they let me go home… After I was released, I went to a practitioner's home and just drank several cups of water. I was fully recovered the next day. From my experience I deeply realized Dafa's supernormal and unimaginable power.12

This story is different from the others in a few areas 1) it doesn't give a name, 2) she doesn't describe any force-feeding experiences even though she "insisted on a hunger strike" presumably for 15 days, and 3)"the supernormal and unimaginable power of the Dafa" which recovered her body over night is not seen in other practitioners' testimonials. With these questionable characteristics, one wonders if the story was faked by the Falun Gong organization to encourage practitioners to "let go of the life and death" in the form of hunger strikes. In any case, with these kinds of encouragements, the hunger strike has become the main cause of practitioners' deaths in police custody, especially in the years 2000 and 2001. With the death rate reaching 977, it's sad, but not surprising, that there is no voice in the Falun Gong organization questioning the practitioners' irrational and sometimes deadly tactics of using hunger strikes.

Li could put a stop to the hunger strikes, thus preventing many deaths, but instead he pushes his followers to take extreme measures, then fails to speak up when they choose to go on self-destructive hunger strikes. To further encourage these extreme tactics, Li proclaims that those practitioners who die in detention centers have "reached consummation."13 Why is it that a spiritual master, living in the United States, would promote dying in a detention center in China as the fastest way to reach consummation

The fact that practitioners have committed suicide in the form of "hunger strikes" shows that the Falun Gong organization has indeed lied about the deaths of at least some of its followers. What Li and the Falun Gong organization do in promoting self-destructive actions to defend the Dafa amounts to sending those practitioners to their death.

Knowing that hundreds of practitioners died and thousands of practitioners are still in jail, Li and the Falun Gong organization he controls have never shown any compassion. Instead, practitioners are scolded for not being able to endure torture. Li demonstrates his cold-bloodedness by stating that it's unacceptable for followers to write repentance statements "When they couldn't endure the severe torture."14

While pushing practitioners into harm's way is both despicable and detestable, it's important to point out that Li and his Falun Gong organization have been benefiting from practitioners' pain and deaths. Ever since the ban, the Falun Gong propaganda has featured two themes to gain sympathy and support 1) the Falun Gong is just a form of peaceful Tai Chi like exercises, 2) practitioners' freedom of belief is violated and some are even tortured to death in China. This strategy has successfully touched many kind people who are sympathetic towards those who suffer and die in detention centers. By going around talking to every one with such propaganda, the Falun Gong organization has gained converts, financial support and even official recognition from respected politicians.

What these kind supporters don't know is that according to the Falun Gong practitioners, the supporters, themselves, are the ones who are being saved because they provide help to Falun Gong. As explained by Li, the logic is simple if a person thinks negatively about his Dafa "he'll be weeded out as soon as Fa-rectification of the human world begins."15 In order to save people from being weeded out by his Dafa, practitioners must instill in them a positive attitude towards the Dafa through a process called "clarifying the truth". This new goal of saving others has replaced the personal goal of reaching consummation. As Li proclaims

Today I can tell you this your cultivation is absolutely not a personal, simple matter of reaching Consummation--your cultivation is saving the countless sentient beings in the cosmic body that corresponds to you and who've put infinite hope in you. The cultivation of you all is saving the sentient beings in every single gigantic cosmic colossal firmament.16

Suddenly, in a twist of logic, the ones asking for help become the saviors, and the ones who help become the ones who need help. According to Li, ordinary people who help Falun Gong will have trouble understanding the great complexity of his teachings. So by putting the message of Falun Gong into human rights terms, ordinary people will be able to understand, at least at a superficial level. Speaking quite smugly of these slow-witted non-practitioners, Master Li tells his followers that "they are able to understand things like what humankind, today's people, call ‘human rights' being squashed and freedom of belief being squashed. So when you're clarifying the facts your words should revolve around those topics."17 Knowing that human rights concepts are attractive to people in the West, Master Li has struck on a very clever marketing ploy.

It's the shear duplicity of Master Li's public relations campaign – what Michael Langone correctly calls "spinning" – that continues to block a true understanding of why so many Falun Gong practitioners suffer unnecessarily. It's not the Falun Gong practitioners themselves who are responsible for this duplicity, but rather their Master who has so cleverly infiltrated their minds with his coercive teachings that they no longer can think for themselves. Just in case these followers might, just for a moment, exercise some independent thought, the Master is forever there to scare them into submission. So when it comes to dealing with us "ordinary people," he darkly warns his followers not to make mistakes:

...When you want to turn ordinary people into Dafa disciples right away as you clarify the facts you're overanxious for results. Anybody who talks too high when he clarifies the facts is being irrational and doing harm. And if he doesn't listen to words of caution and is too attached, he might do even worse bad things and be taken advantage of by demons. When you've truly committed to those kinds of sins demons might take you down.18

In other words, don't you dare tell them what my real teachings are, because if you do, you, yourself, might be taken by the demons.

With the Falun GongChinese government conflict continuing into its sixth year on the 22nd of July 2005, there appears to be no hope for relief. In China, Falun Gong is still teaching its followers not to seek medical treatment, therefore putting their health in danger. It also has resorted to criminal acts such as jamming the Chinese satellite TV19 and hijacking China's television to broadcast its propaganda.20 Outside of China, with its own newspapers, radio, and TV programs, the Falun Gong universally condemns the Chinese government—not only for it's ban of the Falun Gong, but for all its policies. It's easy to understand why the Chinese government sees the Falun Gong as a threat to its citizen's health and a group with a dangerous political agenda. In the eye of the government, the Falun Gong organization might even be aided by outside national groups or individuals, which makes it all the more threatening.


1. A Falun Gong practitioner. "Looking Back - Safeguarding Dafa as One Body in Beijing's Fengtai Stadium on July 22, 1999," (August 25, 2003)

2. Li Hongzhi, "A suggestion," Essential for Further Advancement II (April 10, 2001), paragraph 1.

3. Editor of clearwisdom.net, "Safeguarding the Fa As Long As I Have a Breath in My Body," (December 28, 2000).

4. Frank Tian Xie and Tracey Zhu, "Ancient Wisdom for Modern Predicaments The Truth, Deceit, and Issues Surrounding Falun Gong," Cultic Studies Review, Volume 3, No. 1 (American Family Foundation 2004)

5. Li Hongzhi,. "In Reference to a Prophecy," Essentials for Further Advancement II, (June 8, 2000).

6. Li Hongzhi, "Eliminate Your Last Attachments," Essentials for Further Advancement II, (August 12, 2000), paragraph 5.

7. Li Hongzhi, "Touring North America to Teach the Fa" (March, 2002), paragraph 27.

8. A Falun Gong practitioner, "Ms. Zhang Shu-qi, Died Right after Her Release from Police Custody," (April 5, 2000).

9. Falun Gong practitioners, "140 practitioners on huger strike in the Da-Guang detention center," (Februay 11, 2000).

10. Li Chenghang, "A letter from a practitioner in jail to her practitioners," (September 15, 2000), paragraph 9.

11. Editor of Minghui.ca, "A Report of Practitioner Liu who died after being force fed," (February 25, 200, only available in Chinese)

12. Editor of Clearwisdom.net "Suffocated Evil With Righteous Thoughts," (Febarary 1, 2001).

13. Minghui Editor, "Serious Teachings, Clearwisdom.net (September 24,2000).

14. Li Hongzhi, "Teaching the Fa at the Great Lakes Fa Conference in North America," (December 9, 2000), Paragraph 8.

15. Li Hongzhi, "Touring North America to Teach the Fa," (March, 2002), paragraph 18.

16. Li Hongzhi, "Touring North America to Teach the Fa," (March, 2002), paragraph 7

17. Li Hongzhi, "Teaching and Explaining the Fa at the Metropolitan New York Fa Conference," (April 20, 2003), paragraph 8.

18. Li Hongzhi, "Teaching and Explaining the Fa at the Metropolitan New York Fa Conference," (April 20, 2003), paragraph 8

19. Philip P. Pan, "Banned Falun Gong Movement Jammed Chinese Satellite Signal," Washington Post, (July 9, 2002)

20. Jeremy Page, "Falun Gong hijacks China city's TV airwaves-locals," Reuters, (March 7, 2002) 

http://exposingtheFalun Gong.org/fgban02.html